Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling and Psychological Services

First Advisor

Dr. Stephen Truscott - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Brack - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Joel Meyers - Committee Member

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Susan McClendon - Committee Member


This phenomenology used 21 in-depth interviews to explore seven African Americans’ experiences at the school psychology programs they left. The purpose was to investigate what experiences contributed to participants’ decisions to leave programs; if programs used retention strategies and if so, participants’ view of the strategies; and what participants believe might have encouraged their retention. Findings indicate that misalignment between participants’ career aims and their perceptions of school psychology practice as well as poor relationships with faculty and peers contributed to decisions to leave programs. Five participants reported that programs did not utilize retention strategies. Two reported that a sole faculty advocate served as a retention strategy, while one noted funding. Participants cited funding and advisement as strategies that might have encouraged their retention.